Edison Intermediate/Middle School fourth-grade teacher Diane Runyon was presented Nov. 15 with the 2011 Ohio History Teacher of the Year award by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
While Runyon is the individual award winner, her school and Edison students will are also reaping the rewards of her award.
As a state winner, Runyon received a certificate of recognition and a $1,000 award.
Edison’s library received a core archive of history books and educational materials.
“What’s also great is that our school is recognized as a Gilder Lehrman affiliate school, so we get access to wonderful online history resources that aren’t available to the regular public,” Runyon said. “This is a resource that both our students and teachers will be able to use.”
Gilder Lehrman also presented Runyon with 50 posters that feature historic images and information.
“I’ve distributed the posters to the history teachers at each of our schools, so I’m spreading the spoils among my colleagues,” Runyon said.
Runyon, who was nominated for the award by her Edison colleague Betsy Moutvic, will also be attending a weeklong Gilder Lehrman summer seminar on everyday life in early America at Yale University.
“That is so exciting for me,” Runyon said. “This seminar is something I’ve always wanted to attend, but only a select few get to participate. As a winner of the award, I’m first in line.
“I’m going to have to buy a Yale sweater,” she said. “After attending small schools my entire life, it’s so exciting to think about spending time at Yale. I’m really excited about being able to bring back what I learn to my classroom.”
The seminar subject fits the scope of the history unit she teaches in her fourth-grade classroom, Runyon said.
“I focus on everyday life in our early history, not so much the battles and dates, but how people lived and survived during those years,” Runyon said. “I try to bring that era to life as much as I can to my students so that it’s more than just something they read in a book.”
In her class, Runyon has done everything from teaching students how to weave and spin material to installing a Conestoga wagon she built in her classroom.
She said she wants students to learn that a love of history is something that can last and bring enrichment their entire life.
“I never expected to win this award because there are so many great teachers in this state and so many great teachers in my school,” Runyon said. “I feel fortunate to teach in this district because of the support I receive” from her colleagues, Edison principal Bob Baeslack and Superintendent Ed O’Reilly.
The history teacher of the year award is co-sponsored by Gilder Lehrman, the History Channel and Preserve America.